Sunday, June 10, 2007

Is Kim Jong-Il a goner?

North Korean "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il is rumored to be nearly incapacitated with a heart ailment (as reported earlier here on Dictators of the World) related to type II diabetes. Kim's condition is so bad, that reports leaked from Pyongyang say he cannot walk more than 30 yards without stopping to rest. A team of cardiac specialists from Germany reportedly traveled to North Korea last month to treat Kim, but the doctors themselves denied treating Kim, and as usual, the North Korean government issued flat denials regarding why they were actually there.

Japan's Shukan Gendai, however, reports that Kim has already undergone emergency heart bypass surgery, and remains in serious condition in Pyongyang. Kim's condition will likely remain shrouded in secrecy for a number of reasons, not least of which is Kim's status as a demigod in North Korea's official juche state philosophy/religion. What's more, it appears that the Kim dynasty has not yet ironed out the question of succession to the Dear Leader, and any power vacuum opens up the possibility of a military coup d'etat. This is no small concern, because if there's only one thing North Korea isn't have shortages of, it's military officers.

Would North Korea change if Kim kicked the bucket? Would Kim Il-Sung's grandsons see the writing on the wall and move to unify Korea on the South's terms? Would a clique of hardliners take over in a coup? It's all way too early to tell, but if Kim dies, we may be looking at the final days of the world's most repressive dictatorship.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Am I the only one that finds it ironic that the country of juche ("self reliance") has to bring in doctors from Germany to treat that pygmy?